Month: May 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 and the Fight for the Mouse

The mouse is something that should just work.  Is it a bad sign when your mouse won’t work at all?  You can see my problems with UNetbootIn on my previous post.

Even after I got it installed correctly, I still had trouble with all of my mouse input types.  I still haven’t figured out how to get the Touchpad features working (like multi-touch) or the USB to reliably work.  If you have any ideas, please comment.


The touchpad works as far as normal mouse features.  The pointer moves and the right and left clicks work.  The problem is that it isn’t recognized as a touchpad.  Therefore, the scrolling and multi-touch features work.  In the mouse settings, you’ll notice that all of the touchpad features are gone.

Mouse & Touchpad Settings

I tried a couple of quick searches, and I didn’t find anything new.  So, I just followed the same instructions that I used on 12.10.  I used this download link.  Then, I extracted and installed with…

sudo tar -xf ~/Downloads/psmouse-alps-dst-0.4.tar -C /usr/src/
sudo bash /usr/src/psmouse-alps-dst-0.4/

Unfortunately, the build failed with this message in the middle of it:

cleaning build area....
make KERNELRELEASE=3.8.0-22-generic -C /lib/modules/3.8.0-22-generic/build M=/var/lib/dkms/psmouse/alps-dst-0.4/build/src psmouse.ko....(bad exit status: 2)
Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "/usr/share/apport/package-hooks/", line 22, in <module>
 import apport
ImportError: No module named apport
Error! Bad return status for module build on kernel: 3.8.0-22-generic (x86_64)
Consult /var/lib/dkms/psmouse/alps-dst-0.4/build/make.log for more information.
Build failed

I tried installing the linux-source package.  That didn’t fix the error at all, so I tried installing the python-apport package.  That one fixed one of the errors, but it still didn’t completely compile.

Next, I found the driver on Git Hub: psmouse-alps.  I downloaded the zip file from the front page, and I extracted it to the /usr/src directory:

sudo unzip -d /usr/src/
cd /usr/src/psmouse-alps-master/
sudo dkms add .
sudo modprobe -r psmouse
sudo dkms build -m psmouse -v custom-1.2 --all
sudo dkms autoinstall --force
sudo modprobe psmouse

I got closer, but the autoinstall wouldn’t work.  It couldn’t find the directory.  So, I took the install script from the other directory and updated it to this:

KERN=$(uname -r)
echo "MAIN: Driver source files by Dave Turvene. Install script by garyF."
echo "MAIN: Install script updated by Stephen Phillips."
echo "MAIN: Removing previous versions of psmouse-alps-dst..."
sudo dkms remove psmouse/$DLKM --all
echo "MAIN: Building current driver from source files..."
sudo dkms build psmouse/$DLKM
if [[ $? == 0 ]]; then
echo "MAIN: Installing the driver"
sudo dkms install psmouse/$DLKM
sudo rmmod -v psmouse
sudo modprobe -v psmouse
echo "MAIN: Done installing. Go to System Settings > Mouse and Touchpad to configure :-)"
printf "Build failed\n"
cat /var/lib/dkms/psmouse/$DLKM/build/make.log

I found this error message:

/usr/src/linux-headers-3.8.0-22-generic/arch/x86/Makefile:103: CONFIG_X86_X32 enabled but no binutils support

Update: I finally fixed it.

Bluetooth Mouse

My first attempt didn’t work on my bluetooth mouse.  My second attempt ended up working with no problem.

I went to the bluetooth icon by the clock and clicked Bluetooth settings.  I made sure that it was on.  I don’t think that the visible was necessary, but I turned it on just in case.  Then, I hit the bluetooth button on the bottom of my mouse.  The power light flash green and red to show it was broadcasting.

On the settings dialog, I hit the plus sign to add a device.

Adding a Bluetooth Device

The first time I tried, it wouldn’t find any devices.  I gave up.  Several updates and reboots later, I tried again, and this time, my mouse was in the list:

Bluetooth Device List

I selected the device and clicked Continue.  It was that simple:

Bluetooth Mouse Setup

USB Mouse

In previous versions, my USB mouse had stopped working.  I did some research and found a few bugs, but I never found a solution.  This time it worked at first, but after a minute or two, it just stopped working.  It seems to be hit or miss for some reason.

Here’s the dmesg output:

[12571.959955] usb 3-3: new full-speed USB device number 2 using xhci_hcd
[12571.978603] usb 3-3: New USB device found, idVendor=046d, idProduct=c52f
[12571.978610] usb 3-3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[12571.978614] usb 3-3: Product: USB Receiver
[12571.978617] usb 3-3: Manufacturer: Logitech
[12572.024103] input: Logitech USB Receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb3/3-3/3-3:1.0/input/input14
[12572.024384] hid-generic 0003:046D:C52F.0002: input,hidraw1: USB HID v1.11 Mouse [Logitech USB Receiver] on usb-0000:00:14.0-3/input0
[12572.026241] input: Logitech USB Receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb3/3-3/3-3:1.1/input/input15
[12572.026434] hid-generic 0003:046D:C52F.0003: input,hiddev0,hidraw2: USB HID v1.11 Device [Logitech USB Receiver] on usb-0000:00:14.0-3/input1
[12572.026479] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbhid
[12572.026483] usbhid: USB HID core driver

I’ll have to research this more later.

Can’t Close GMail Tasks Window

I just helped a friend with a “GMail” problem.  He couldn’t close the “tasks” window.  I found that it might be a somewhat common problem — I found a Google Groups post regarding the problem (Google Groups: Help! Can’t close Tasks).

Here’s what it looks like with the task Window open where you can’t see the close button:

GMail Zoomed with Tasks Open

The issue is that the resolution is too small to display the title bar of the tasks.  Therefore, you can’t click the close button.

I read that in some cases it was the screen resolution.  In my case, it was because the window was zoomed in.  That is a feature of the browser rather than GMail itself.  In this case, I am using the Google Chrome browser.  In the view menu, you’ll see the options.

Zoom Options in Google Chrome

The “Zoom In” will make things larger so that you can read things better.  It might distort the page a little, which is what it is doing here.  The “Zoom Out” option shrinks it back so that you can see more on the page.  The “Actual Size” resets things back to normal.

I believe most of the different browsers support this feature.  You will find the option in different places, but I think they use the same keyboard shortcuts.  If you hold the Ctrl key down, the plus ( + ) makes things bigger, and minus ( – ) shrinks it back.  Holding the Ctrl key and pressing zero ( 0 ) resets things back to normal.

So, in this case, hitting Ctrl + 0 fixes it so we can see the close button:

GMail fixed

Here are some of the other browsers’ documentation for zooming:

Ubuntu 13.04 A Ruckus with Ringtail

This past weekend, I finally got the time to go through installing Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail).  Here’s to documenting it…


I have been trying to rebuild my laptop with each new version of Ubuntu.  This is proving a little more challenging, but this is my first post.  This is as much of a story as my other posts, and if you have any suggestions please comment.

Preparing the Installation Media

The troubles started at the outset for me.  The default tool for putting an iso on a USB drive had been crashing, so I have dropped back to UNetbootIn.  I had mentioned that on several posts, and this one is no different.

It worked fine at first, but after I went through the install, my wireless wasn’t recognized.  Then, I found that my USB ports weren’t working; at least, I couldn’t mount a USB key or external drive.  Also, my touchpad wouldn’t work.

I did a little searching around, and I found Husain’s Chronicle.  He mentioned that the problem seems to be common with everyone who used UNetbootIn.  It seems very strange to me because the problem happens not when you boot off the USB but after booting to an installation made by the USB drive.  Still, I went to my other computer that happened to be running Linux Mint, and I used the “USB Image Writer” program:

USB Writer

The only thing that I noticed different was the boot loader was different.  The install went exactly the same, but when I booted, I had no trouble with the touchpad, the wireless, or the USB drives.


I tried the option to remove the Ubuntu 12.10 partitions and reinstall, but that didn’t work for me.  I have special preferences on where I want my partitions.  Yes, I have to be difficult.

I have a solid state drive (apparently /dev/sdb) that I want to use as my root.  My thought is that I want all of the binaries and the swap partition on the faster solid state drive.  Then, I have a 1TB drive (/dev/sda) that I want to use for my home folder where I will place all of my files, pictures, virtual machines, etc.

I set the large partition to format and to mount on the /home folder:

Selecting Home Partition

Next, I removed all of the partitions on my SSD drive and created an 8G swap partition at the end:

Creating the Swap Partition

Finally, I created my root partition with the rest of the space:

Adding the Root Partition

Encrypting the Drive

This time I decided to encrypt my home folder to add a little security.  This is my first try at this, so I’ll have to see how things work.  So far, it doesn’t seem like any complication for the security that it adds.

Encrypting the Home Folder

On the first boot, it prompted me to save my key.

Encryption key message

So, I ran ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase.  Note that it says, but I missed it the first time: when it asks for the “Passphrase”, it is asking for the password that you associate with your user account, the one when you login to your computer.

Cleaning Up the Launchers

One of the first issues that I notice is that the launcher on the left is full of icons that I don’t necessarily use all of the time.  So, I removed most of them to make room for running applications:

Unlocking Launchers

Adding Google Software

Google offers a software repository.  Rather than just trying to install chrome by downloading the deb, I installed the repository with:

wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install google-chrome-beta

I had expected chrome to show up in the Ubuntu Software Center, but it never did.  It worked fine to install from the command-line though.


Shutter is one of the first things that I install so that I can document and blog my install.  It is an easy install from the Software Center:

Shutter in the Software Center

For configuration, I don’t like the way the program sticks the screenshots in the Pictures folder.  To me, that is for photos rather than screenshots.  So, I create my own screenshots folder:

Creating the Screenshots folder

Then, under Edit > Preferences, I set it to use the new folder:

Shutter folder setting

On previous versions, I had to tweak the settings to get it to show by the clock.  This install, I didn’t have to do anything, and it shows up!

Shutter by the clock

Since I am always taking screenshots of things, I set it to start automatically.  I checked the first two options on the “Behavior” tab:

Shutter on Startup options

Restoring Backups

I copied off all of my important content off to an external USB drive.  I installed grsync to make copying easier.  Then, I copied the following directories back:

  • ~/Documents: This is where I put all my document files
  • ~/Pictures: I have Shotwell pointed at this directory, so it contains all the pictures from my cell phone and digital camera
  • ~/MIS: I keep my work files in a different directory
  • ~/app: This has all of my programming stuff (“application development”)
  • ~/VirtualBox VMs: These are the virtual computers
  • ~/.config/google-chrome: The settings for Chrome (extensions, bookmarks, etc)
  • ~/.gnome2/keyrings: My saved passwords
  • ~/.Skype: Skype history
  • ~/.remmina: The settings for my remote connections
  • ~/.ssh: The keys for my remote ssh connectinos
  • ~.local/share/shotwell: The settings and thumbnails for my photos (moved from ~/.shotwell, see Ask Ubuntu)
  • ~/.sword: The downloaded Bible files for Xiphos (and the underlying Sword library)
  • ~/.VirtualBox: The settings for my virtual machines
  • ~/.filezilla: The settings for my FTP connections
  • ~/.sqldeveloper: The connection settings for SQL developer
  • /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections and /etc/NetworkManager/VPN: this saves all of my wireless connections and VPN connections

Other Utilities

I like to use the “Main Menu” program, or alacarte to update the list of applications for the Applications Dash.

Main Menu program

Bumblebee for the Discrete Video Card

WebUpd8 has a great article for installing Bumblebee.  I decided to try the Bumblebee Configurator GUI.  Notice that the program name changed from gtk to gui — bumblebee-config-gui.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alessandrofac93/bumblebee-config-gtk-dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bumblebee-config-gui

Issue … I started it with “sudo bumblebee-config”.  All I got was this output:

Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "/usr/bin/bumblebee-config", line 17, in <module>
 wnd = BumblebeeMainWindow()
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/bumblebee_config/", line 53, in __init__
 if self.aptHelper.checkBumblebeeInstalled():
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/bumblebee_config/", line 112, in checkBumblebeeInstalled
 if cache['bumblebee'].isInstalled:
 File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/apt/", line 204, in __getitem__
 raise KeyError('The cache has no package named %r' % key)
KeyError: "The cache has no package named 'bumblebee'"

There is a bug opened for this issue.  Just as a guess, I tried to add the repositories:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

sudo apt-get update

After that, it worked fine:

Bumblebee Configurator

I found that I needed to click on the “Configure Bumblebee” button first to choose the Nvidia driver:

Configuring the Driver for Bumblebee

I clicked the “Install Bumblebee” button, and it started installing…

Installing Bumblebee

When I ran check status, I got this message:

Bumblebeed status:
[ 7161.740177] [INFO]Configured driver: nvidia
[ 7161.742547] [INFO]Switching method 'bbswitch' is available and will be used.
[ 7161.744668] [ERROR]Module 'nvidia-current' is not found.

Everything still seemed to work fine, though.  The nvidia-current package was actually installed.  I don’t know why it reports that “not found” message.


Linux to Samsung

A very good friend asked me to install Linux on his new laptop.  It is a Samsung NP550P5C-A01UB.  He has used Linux in the past, but he has a requirement to run a Windows-only program.  Not sure how he would want to meet that requirement exactly, I decided to give options.  I shrunk the original Windows 8 to make it dual boot.  Then, I installed Windows in Virtual Box so that Linux and Windows could run at the same time.  Finally, I installed Office with Wine to allow for editing Office docs natively.

Backing Up

My first task was to back up the PC before I did anything.  I wanted a snapshot so that I could get it back to the way the laptop was given to me.  Clonezilla was the tool of choice.  It boots from a CD or USB drive and it can snapshot a harddrive.

Bad EIP Value

When it booted with my first image of clonezilla (clonezilla-live-20121217-quantal.iso), it wouldn’t work.  I tried adding the following options in the boot menu:

pci=noacpi nobiospnp noapic nolapic

Unfortunately, that didn’t solve my problem.  I ended out just downloading the latest version from SourceForge/the Clonezilla website.

Creating the Clonezilla USB Drive

The “Make Startup Disk” program that I have been using has been crashing for me.  So, I set out to find a better way.  UNetbootin stepped in to save the day!  It was an easy install from the Software Center, and it worked with no problem.


The “Distribution” option looked cool.  I didn’t read up on it, but it looks like it would download the version for you.  The only problem was that all of the versions were out of date.  So, I downloaded the latest version myself and I used the “Diskimage” option.

GPT Partition

Clonezilla gave me this error message:

This disk contains mismatched GPT and MBR partition: /dev/sda

It will confuse Clonezilla and might make the saved image useless or fail to clone the disk.

You can use gdisk or sgdisk to fix this issue.  E.g. if you are sure only MBR partition table is the one you want, you can run this command to destroy the GPT partition table while keep the MBR partition table:

sudo sgdisk -z /dev/sdx

First things first, I backed up the master boot record —

sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=GPT bs=512 count=34

If I needed to restore, I should be able to use this:

sudo dd if=GPT of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=34

Here’s the output of: sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda

Device     Boot      Start     End      Blocks    Id     System
/dev/sda1     *       2048    718847      358400      7      HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda2             718848  1465147391  732214272   7      HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

I checked, and this drive wasn’t over 2TB, so I just got rid of the GTP.  I ran this command:

sudo sgdisk -z /dev/sda

After rebooting clonezilla, the backup worked fine.

Installing Linux Mint

I downloaded the latest version of Linux Mint.  I chose the Cinnamon 64-bit version from the download page.  And, I used UNetbootin to put it on the USB drive.

When it asked for installing beside Windows, I chose “Install Linux Mint alongside Windows 8”:

Selecting install type

The interface to choose the size was very nice.  I could just drag the divider, and I chose to split the space like this:

Selecting parition size

Finally, the install finished and reported no problems:

Installation Complete

Fixing the Bootloader

After the install, it would only boot into Windows.  It wouldn’t load any bootloader.

I tried to load/install grub manually.  Here the commands that I used, but I won’t bother explaining them because they didn’t work:

sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda

sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt
 sudo mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
 sudo mount -t proc none /mnt/proc
 sudo cp /etc/resolve.conf /mnt/etc
 sudo chroot /mnt /bin/bash
 sudo mount -t sysfs none /sys
 sudo mount -t devpts none /dev/pts

sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install grub-efi
 sudo update-grub
 sudo grub-install /dev/sda
 sudo grub-install /dev/sda1


sudo umount /mnt/dev/pts
 sudo umount /mnt/dev
 sudo umount /mnt/proc
 sudo umount /mnt/sys
 sudo umount /mnt

Unfortunately, no luck.

Switching to Ubuntu

Finally, I decided to give up on Linux Mint.  I have more experience with Ubuntu, so I thought I would see if it makes a difference.  I found documentation that looked like they had the new bootloader issues taken care of.

I removed the partitions that Linux Mint created using gparted (had to launch with sudo gparted).  It had mounted the the Swap partition, so I had to use the swapoff option before it would let me delete:

removing the Mint partitions

It cleaned up like this:

Clean up partition table

Next, I went through the install, and it just asked if I wanted to install along side Windows

Install Type option

So, here’s the result after the install:

Partition Table after install

The install went fine.  The only problem was that it still wouldn’t boot to Linux.  It was like it didn’t install any bootloader at all!

Boot Repair

I finally found a program called “Boot Repair”.  It was supposed to fix issues like what I was running into.

I used the following two commands to install and launch boot repair:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (sudo boot-repair &)

Then I clicked on the “Recommended Repair” button.  It had me run a couple of things in the terminal.

I did run this:

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo "EFI boot on HDD" || echo "Legacy boot on HDD"

It said that I was installed in EFI mode.

After the reboot, I was good to go.

Getting Up to Date

I ran this to download the latest updates:

sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get upgrade

Installing VirtualBox

I was able to install Virtual Box very easily from the Software Center.  Then, I downloaded the latest version of the Clonezilla image.  I created a machine with 3G of RAM and a dynamically allocated 500G drive.  I set the Clonezilla.iso as the CD drive.

When I booted the image, it gave me an error about the kernel not being available.

To fix the problem, I tried:

sudo apt-get remove virtualbox-dkms
 sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

That’s when I got the message:

Module build for the currently running kernel was skipped since the kernel source for this kernel does not seem to be installed.

I made sure that the linux-headers-generic package was installed, and it was.  Then, after playing with it for a while, I noticed there was a kernel update.  So, I let Software Updater do it’s job.  After rebooting, the machine worked.

The next challenge was getting Clonezilla to see the USB drive in the virtual machine.  I found that I needed to check the “Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller” on the USB tab of the VM’s settings.  When I did that, it said that I needed the “Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack”.  That requires a different installation of Virtual Box, and I dropped that idea.

So, I created a new virtual drive.  Then, after booting CloneZilla and going to the command line, I created a new partition with fdisk.  Then, I formatted it with:

sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1

Next, I had to mount that drive on the host so that I could copy my clonezilla backup to it.  I installed:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-fuse

To mount the drive on the host, I ran:

sudo vdfuse -a -f "<path to vdi file>" /mnt

Then, I needed to mount the partition:

sudo mount -o loop /mnt/Partition1 /mnt2

After that, I had access to the clonezilla backup.  I was able to unmount the partition and boot the virtual machine.  Clonezilla restored the backup onto the machine, and I was good to go.

Finally, I had to fix the NAT … I followed my old instructions and ran these commands:

vboxmanage modifyvm "Windows 8" --natdnshostresolver1 on
 vboxmanage modifyvm "Windows 8" --nic1 nat

Installing Microsoft Office on Wine

I tried to install via Play on Linux, but the install wouldn’t work.  At first, I thought the problem was because I had a different version of Office than what was expected.  Looking back, I think it was because I had the wrong CD in.  It was a 3 disk set, but I didn’t see that at first.

So, I installed by following this post and installed it manually:

sudo apt-get install mesa-utils mesa-utils-extra libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libgl1-mesa-dev ia32-libs
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/ /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/ /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine
export WINEPREFIX="/home/cgomez/.wineprefixes/office2010/"
export WINEARCH="win32"

Then, I ran winetricks and installed:

  • dotnet20
  • msxml6
  • corefonts (under install a font)

Then, in winecfg, I set:

  • msxml6 to native
  • gdiplus to native

Next, I used wine to run the setup program on the CD.

After installing, I ran winecfg one more time and set riched20 to native.


Thankfully, my persistence paid off.  I was able to get the machine up and running.  I wasn’t super happy with the performance of the machine.  It seemed to run slow at times, which is frustrating for a brand new machine.  I ended up coming back and installing Windows Vista for the virtual machine.  The Windows 8 just didn’t work well in Virtual Box.

Also, I think it is worth noting that I could have probably used that “Boot Repair” program with Linux Mint.  Both are debian based, and I think it would have worked had I discovered it before trying Ubuntu.

I hope these notes help someone else.  They are a bit abbreviated at times, but at least I have some notes as to what I did.